20 October 2011

The Vita Will Tank at Australian Retail

Sony Computer Entertainment Australia has just announced the launch date and retail price of the Playstation Vita in Australia, and people are spitting chips over it.  We are looking at a launch price of $349.99 AUD for the Wi-Fi model and $449.99 AUD for the 3G model.

[This is the part where I talk to Sony as if Sony are actually reading this blog.]

Sony, this kind of crap used to float 6 years ago, but not anymore.  The world has grown smaller, not larger, and Aussie gamers are savvy to what the rest of the world is paying.  Australian retailers are no longer competing against each other; they're competing against the world, and they're competing against the online space in particular.  And that is why I believe the PS Vita will tank at Australian retail.  With the Aussie dollar riding high, expect Australian gamers to import in droves while the price is this unreasonable.

To put this in context, I paid $400 AUD for a Nintendo Wii at launch in 2006.  US gamers were paying $250.  The Australian dollar was sitting around the 79 cent mark at that point in time.  As I write, $250 US is currently worth $244.46 AUD; which happens to be the price of the Wi-Fi PS Vita at launch in America.

Australian consumers aren't unreasonable; they understand there are shipping costs associated with getting these products to our remote shores (although, truth be told, it all has to be shipped from China anyway).  But someone's hand is in the cookie jar here.  Whoever that is will be responsible for driving gamers into the arms of importers and online retail.

Such is life.

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